I too have a cardiac background, 5 years PCU/ICU and 5 years Cardiology outpatient. I just signed on for a clinical research coordinator position with a private research clinic that does phase 1 to phase 4 trials. I start in 6 weeks, so I do not have a lot of detail, other than to say I am excited because I love reading through the research, and being very detailed in my documentation and paperwork. I am looking forward to a quieter environment and no more 12 hour hospital shifts. The research shows how damaging 12 hours shifts are to your health, in the long term. As much as I enjoyed the acute patient care challenges, 12 hours was exhausting and each year it became harder and harder to go to work happy, especially with young children at home. The pay is on track with outpatient nursing, and depends on experience and what responsibilities you're taking on. Remember, anything is negotiable!
I am frustrated that Nursing continues to sit at the bottom of the priority list as far as improving the workplace. The EHR was not designed with nursing in mind, the 12 hours shifts compromise our health, the pay and benefits do not balance out, nurses are still not well represented in the board room, and nurses by law, are not allowed to bill for their services - which needs to change! There are parts of nursing we all love, however, nursing is not loving many of us back, and in the long run, administrators and whole communities will suffer. Nurse can diagnose (how many times have you saved a physicians backside?), and professionally we need to work towards being providers of wellness addressing obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes.
I plan to use my experience in research to learn what specifically is measured, and how, for different types of clinical research (medications vs devices). How is data collected and managed, and where data is it documented. With a strong research knowledge base, I will have a stronger leg to stand on in Informatics. I also have my CLNC (legal nursing). Like I said, Nurses have not positioned themselves to take on these bigger issues. I hope to change that. Nurses need to think in terms of quantifying our value in health care. I advise going into Research with a plan. What do you hope to learn, what can you give to the research team (strong clinical skills, especially for Phase 1 trials), and what are you going to do with your research experience in 5 years. Get on LinkedIn, start connecting with others, and see where you can go! Best of Success to you!